According to Title 18 of the United States Code, a federal crime is deemed as an crime that violates the laws of the United States or an offense that happens on property possessed by the Federal government. There are a plethora of crimes that can be federal, including:
- 21 USC Sec. 841 – Drug Offenses/Trafficking
- 8 USC Sec. 1324 – Illegal Alien Smuggling or Border Crossing
- 18 USC Sec. 2113 – Bank Robbery
- 18 USC Sec. 2251 – Child Pornography
- 18 USC Sec. 1030 – Internet Fraud
- 18 USC Sec. 1341 – Mail Fraud
- 18 USC Sec. 1348/1349 – Securities Fraud
- 18 USC Sec. 21 – Counterfeiting and Forgery
- 18 USC Sec. 1956 – Money Laundering
- 18 USC Sec. 1961 – Organized Crime
- 26 USC Sec. 7201 – Tax violations
When it comes to penalties, federal punishments tend to be more severe than state punishments. Here are several reasons why:
- Maximum penalties for federal crimes are much more severe than that of state
- Federal statutes and regulations have more severe sentencing laws than that of state crimes that are filed in federal or state courthouses
- Federal judges utilize less discretion in sentencing verdicts
- Federal prosecutors utilize less discretion in discussing plea bargains versus that of state prosecuting attorneys
- Federal crimes hold additional penalty enhancements for virtually every criminality
- Federal judges are mandated to obey strict sentencing rules under U.S. Federal laws.
Federal penalties have the option to have the sentences increased. The sentence may be increased due to the specificity of the crime itself. For example, in a child pornography case, the penalty may increase its federal charges due to:
- Specific amount of images
- Exact ages of children in the images
- Computer usage
- Defendant’s relationship to the minor
In the state of California, there are four main Judicial Districts, which include, Central District, Northern District, Southern District and Eastern District. California is included within the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and all Judicial Districts are heard on appeal at the Circuit Court of Appeals. The Circuit Court of Appeals is comprised of 11 Circuit Courts including the District of Columbia Circuit as well as U.S. Court of Appeals in the Federal Circuit. If appeals progress, they ultimately end up in the U.S. Supreme Court.
If there is a conviction of a federal crime in the U.S., there are multiple penalties. The penalties may include, but not limited to, imprisonment, community service, probation and fines. The most imperative division between state and federal is that attorneys from the U.S. Attorney’s office prosecute federal crimes and state prosecutors handle all state crimes. Federal crimes most often include federal agents as well as the need for massive investigations.
The Federal sentencing and punishments is currently undergoing changes. Back in 1984, the Sentencing Reform Act was set forth setting statutory provisions such as mandatory-minimum penalties, case law and “mandatory” Sentencing Guidelines. The majority of sentencing issues include the pre-sentence examination and the report that is conducted by a probation officer as well as the hearing heard by a judge. This process results in the determination of the circumstances and nature of the crime as well as the defendant’s history. The issue is that attorneys as well as police officers have the power of undue influence over sentencing choices that are offered to the hearing judge including:
- Their control of motions in order to reduce sentences
- Control of the relevant facts that are pertinent to the provisions
- Their selection of which federal charges as well as what facts are relevant to be alleged
- Punishing non-cooperation and exercise of the rights of the defendant
For all the listed reasons, it is important to have great attorneys on your side. The Law Offices of Kerry L. Armstrong come equipped with the best lawyers in order to represent and defend the accused on all federal crime convictions. The talent of the lawyers is apparent due to the sensitive nature of these cases and the special attention each defendant receives throughout this tedious process.